County Durham dad battles back to health for wedding

A County Durham dad who sustained life-threatening injuries in a motorcycle accident has battled back to health to walk his daughter down the aisle

Graham Holdsworth who was almost killed in a motorbike crash
Graham Holdsworth who was almost killed in a motorbike crash

Father Graham Holdsworth made a “miraculous” recovery from a life-threatening motorcycle accident to walk his daughter down the aisle on her wedding day.

Mr Holdsworth , of Horden, County Durham, was in a coma for three weeks after crashing with a pick-up-drawn horsebox while out on a ride in September last year.

He was left with a string of life-threatening injuries in the accident on the A168 between Topcliffe and Thirsk. As well as a fractured skull, he smashed his pelvis and shattered his legs.

He was treated at the scene by medics from the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) trauma team before being flown to the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.

Graham Holdsworth with daughter Cleo Millgate on her wedding day

“They didn’t think I was going to survive,” said Mr Holdsworth.

But little by little he began to improve and after months of rehabilitation, he forced himself out of his wheelchair and onto his crutches in time to walk his daughter down the aisle on her wedding day.

“There were a lot of goals along the way but that was my main one,” he said. “It meant so much to me and my family.”

Mr Holdsworth’s daughter Cleo Millgate, 29, who lives in Darlington, said: “Throughout his recovery, and even when he was unconscious, I kept saying to him ‘you’re walking me down the aisle, you’ve got six months’. It did give him focus.

“It was the proudest moment of my life to have him by my side, walking me down the aisle on my wedding day. It’s difficult to express how much that meant. I can’t thank the air ambulance medics enough for what they have done for our family.”

Mr Holdsworth’s partner Barbara Petrie is now raising money for GNAAS, which does not receive Government funding and relies on public donations to survive. Ms Petrie said: “It really was a miracle. Without the air ambulance getting him to hospital so quickly it would have been a very different story.”

Ms Petrie takes part in the Middlesbrough 10k this weekend. To sponsor her, visit:


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